Fiscal, Demographic, and Performance Data on California’s K-12 Schools

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How to Create District or School Comparisons

Instructions and tips on using Ed-Data's powerful comparison tools.

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Note: Because only student demographic data for 2015-16 are currently available, the performance, finance, staffing, and suspensions and expulsions sections of the comparison will display N/A. We recommend using the slider at the top of the page to go back to the 2014-15 year if you wish to include those other data elements in your comparison.

Using the Ed-Data comparisons tools, you can compare schools or districts based on criteria you set or select individual schools or districts by name. You can also pull data for multiple schools into one place rather than visiting each school or district profile individually. The comparison functionality on Ed-Data.org allows you to: 

  • Compare schools or districts,
  • View multiple data elements for several schools (or districts) in one place
  • Look at schools within one or more districts or counties you specify
  • Compare districts in one or more counties
  • Select a specific year for comparisons and toggle between years as desired,
  • Select the data elements to be included in the comparison results from a list of all fields or by data category (e.g., summary, student demographic, performance, finance),
  • Add in corresponding state or county data for elements you’ve added,
  • Filter results using criteria you select (e.g., show districts matching a specific data range such as enrollment between 1-500 students, or show graduation rates for certain racial/ethnic subgroups),
  • Sort each data element from high to low or low to high, or sort districts/schools alphabetically,
  • Add specific schools or districts into the comparison (e.g., add a high-performing district or a neighboring district or school regardless of the other selection criteria used),
  • Export results to Excel,
  • Eliminate a data element from results if you don’t need it, and
  • “Pin” one or more districts or schools so that they are always displayed in the left-most columns of the results regardless of any sorting performed by the user – allowing you to compare districts/schools of interest with the highest or lowest values in each field.

If you used comparisons in the “old” Ed-Data site, you’ll notice the new comparisons differ in the following ways:

  • You don’t have to choose between demographic or financial comparisons. You can choose fields from each of the following categories to add into your comparison results: summary, student demographic, performance, finance.
  • You can add districts or schools of your own choosing into a comparison (e.g. which districts in the state have the highest graduation rate) rather than having to do “high/low” comparisons separate from the “choose your own district/school comparisons.
  • You have more fields available to add into comparisons. For example, you can now compare based upon the percentage of the unduplicated count of students who are eligible for free/reduced price meals, foster youth, or English learners.
  • You can sort on any district/school field included in your comparisons and can re-sort on other data elements as many times as is helpful.
  • You can specify the exact range of your filters rather than just “over,” “under,” or “close to.” For some data elements, you can also specify specific results, such as filtering on AP results only for students who scored a 3, 4 or 5.

Scroll down for detailed instructions on how to use the new tools. Or take them for a spin now: Compare Schools or Compare Districts

 

Go to Comparisons

From the menu bar, select comparisons and then select district or school, depending upon what you want to compare:

Ed-Data menu with comparisons selected

 

Select a Year to Compare

The Comparisons will open with a default year selected. If you want to compare data for a different year, simply click the year you want:

Year slider in comparisons with 2015-16 selected and arrow pointing to 14-15

Be aware the site may not contain all of the data elements for the most recent year. For example, typically financial data is not received from the California Department of Education and loaded into Ed-Data until the March following the end of the fiscal year. This means, for example, if you want to compare data for the 2015-16 year in early 2017, the financial data for 2015-16 will not be available.

 

 Choose Data Elements

The Comparisons will open with some data elements already showing. For example, in district comparisons, you will see the district name, county, and type of district as shown below: 

Default district comparison view

You can add a data element in two ways:

Option 1:

Data elements are divided into the following categories:

  • Summary
  • Demographic
  • Performance
  • Finance

Each category is included on the Comparisons page and has the icon More icon after the name of the category, as in:

Summary category more icon

Click on the dots to reveal the list of data elements available in that category:

Summary data elements list

Click on a data element name to add it. After you click, the data element will be added. If you want to add another data element from the same category, click on the dots and repeat the process. Or, if you want to add elements from another category, move on to that category and click on that category's dots.

Some categories have so many data elements that you will see a scroll bar, and you may have to scroll down to access the data element you want:

Demographic data elements list

Option 2:

Click on Add Data Element and select one of the most popular data elements from the list that will appear:

Most popular data elements list

Or scroll all the way to the bottom of this list and click the button for a list of data elements that can be included in comparisons:

All available elements list

If you open up this box and then change your mind about adding another data element, simply click near the "X" and the box will close:

X to close Add Data Element

 

Get Rid of a Data Element

If you select a data element and later decide you don't want it, or if you want to delete one or more of the default data elements, simply click on the  next to the element name:

X to close Enrollment data element

 

Filter Data Elements

You can narrow your results by filtering data elements. For example, if you only want to look at high school districts, you would go to the District Type data element and click on the funnel icon:

District type filter

Then you would select the High School District option from the dropdown menu:

District type dropdown menu

 After you've made your selection, click by the field name to close the dropdown list and then click the "Save" button:

 Save button

When there is a long dropdown list, don't forget to click the field name after you've made your selection so you can get to the "Save" button.

You can also filter on numbers. For example, if you want to look at districts with an enrollment of less than 500, you can click on the filter icon for enrollment and type in the number range you want in the boxes provided:

Enrollment filter data-entry box

For data elements with a large range from low to high, like enrollment, it is best to just type in the low or high number you want. For data elements with a smaller range from low to high, you can grab the button on either end of the slider and drag it to the number you want. For example, to filter on cohort graduation rates between 44% and 100%, you can slide the button near zero to 44:

Cohort graduates slider

Click the save button when you are finished.

Your filter criteria will appear by the data element name on the Comparisons page so that you know what filters you have applied:

Cohort graduates filtered for 44-100%

If you want to look at districts within your county, filter on your county; or if you want to compare only schools within a specific district, filter on your district. The following example shows school results filtered for Sacramento City Unified:

District results filtered for Sacramento City Unified

 

Add State and County Data 

If you want to add the state or county values for comparison purposes in district comparisons, or add state, county, or district values for school comparisons, simply click on the icon(s) you want within each filter box. For example, if you want to add state-level cohort graduation dates to your display, click the “State” button in the Cohort Graduation Rate filter:

Cohort graduate range with state data added

Then state data will be included in your results:

District and state data labels

 

Sort Results

The sort icon can be used to sort your results from high to low or low to high. Click on this icon:

...and it will change colors to  and sort your results from A to Z if the field is alphabetic (e.g., district/school name) or from low to high it if is a numeric field. If you want the sort to go from high to low, click the sort icon again and it will change to show the sorting is now from high to low, as in .

 

Scroll Through Results

When you enter your Comparison filters and data elements, you may have more results than will fit on one screen. At the bottom right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see the total number of results and arrows that allow you to move to the next set of results:

Total results returned

 

Add a Pin 

The pinning feature in Comparisons allows you to select one or more districts or schools to keep in the left-hand columns of your results regardless of how you sort. You can click the pin icon to the right of your district’s name, changing it from:

District name not pinned

to:

 Pinned district

Any districts/schools that are pinned will move to, and stay in, the left-hand columns in your results even when you change how you have the data sorted, or scroll from page to page within your results.

 

Add a District or School by Name

You can add a specific district to the district comparisons or a specific school to the school comparisons by clicking on the pin with a “+” sign next to “Add Data Element”:

Pin+ image

Simply type in a district or school name and then select the district/school name from the list of suggestions that will appear:

Adding a district/school name dropdown

Export Results

You can export your results into a comma separated values (CSV) file by clicking on the export button at the bottom on the left-hand column in Comparisons:

Export icon

Your file will open in Excel and you can then save it as an Excel (.xlsx) file if you so choose using the “Save As” option within Excel.

Provide Feedback on Comparisons

We have released the Comparisons functionality in “beta,” meaning that we are inviting you to test out this functionality and let us know what works well for you and what improvements you would like to see. If you have feedback or find a bug, please click the “Contact” tab in the footer and enter your feedback in the space provided:

Contact tab

If you provide an email address, we will respond to your comments.